Tuesday, June 1, 2010

World No Tobacco Day HA!

US Memorial - Omaha Beach.

For those of you in Austria who missed it Monday was World No Tobacco Day. This initiative has not gained much ground here where smoking is very much a part of daily life for all citizens - whether you like it or not.

I won’t go on my usual rant about this (lie) - even though it makes me very unhappy indeed - but let me say that Vienna was recently rated by Mercer as the number one city in the world for expatriate living.

I think the fact that for non-smokers it is the unfriendliest city in Europe should rule it out of the running completely. For non-smokers it is horrendous and it is a daily struggle to escape the clouds of smoke in the streets, shops, cafes and restaurants.

Honestly - smokers just do not give a toss about any else. Have you noticed that when they eat they do not smoke - but are happy to do so when anyone else is eating? And turn to blow the smoke over you lest they offend their dinner companions - how cool is that!

I nearly went postal recently and it required great restraint for me to remain my usual calm and controlled self.

Yesterday David and I went to smoke free cafe Griendsteidl for lunch and on the way home he stopped to look at the Roman ruins in Michaelerplatz. He saw the billions of cigarette butts littering the ruins and commented that ‘the Romans must have been heavy smokers’.

Rant ends.

On our quest to visit every city on the planet within two years - on the weekend we are going to Beirut. This was once apparently a most beautiful city until the Syrians and Israelis - amongst others - undertook an urban redevelopment program (missing the essential second part which was the rebuilding)

But I understand that it is returning to its former glory so am looking forward to seeing it.

Cate is going on business but as a special concession to me she has agreed to fly economy on the flight there. She will of course wear a dust jacket and rubber gloves.

I come back on Tuesday and she will return on Friday in the front of the plane as usual.

But of course she often has to travel economy class - if the flight is less then three hours.

The people who make the decision about travel (and they are usually people who do not travel themselves) have decided that it is OK to sit with your ankles wrapped around your ears for three hours with your nose pressed against the seat in front of you- but not a minute longer. This would constitute cruel and unusual punishment and is not even allowed at Gitmo.

During my absence I have remained vigilant and have keep a close eye on politicians in the USA and Australia. I have nothing good to report on either front so will remain silent - for the moment.


  1. Wow, that memorial is incredible. I've actually never seen it. I wish such atrocious acts of violence would inspire peace the way they inspire art.

    I'm envious of your travels. I hope you post pictures of Beirut, so I can enjoy it vicariously.

  2. I'm intrigued and amused by your "quest to visit every city on the planet within two years". Will there be some kind of Guinness prize at the end? Why the time limit of two years? What exactly do you mean by "every city on the planet "? And how do you define the verb "to visit"? In view of your enthusiastic comments on this subject, I'm starting to wonder whether you might be teamed up, behind the scenes, with the recent business of Jessica Watson… who disturbed certain apple producers (nothing to do with the manufacturer of our favorite computer) by likening herself to a Pink Lady. Am I on the verge of a planetary scoop? Would Badger be some kind of an Aussie Pink Lad?

  3. Apparently next year's Mercer study will be including smoking bans (i.e. if you have one your city will score extra points). So I expect Wien to drop a few places.

  4. William: I have been thinking about this. I shall respond.